Face the Dawn

Matt is walking home from San Francisco

Retrospective: Gifts

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GiftsIn the last harried days before I flew to San Francisco to start this trip, I received some gifts that I want to mention so that the givers know how they were used and how much I appreciated them.

My friends Roy and Gina gave me a compass, explaining that they didn’t want me to get lost. I attached it to my pack and it rode there until I pulled the eyelet out of the casing one day. After that I kept it my pocket, so I could pull it out and consult it easily. It was a handy quick-check of my direction and a useful reality check on TAMI, whose compass went out of calibration at some critical moments.

Bob and Kirsten gave me a laminated waterproof picture of Jizo, the protector of travelers (and unborn children and firefighters), and a set of buddhist rosary beads along with a handwritten card containing great wishes for me on the journey and some relevant and useful advice, including the memorable injunction: “Defend your feet” (!). The beads were in my pocket every day of the trip and the picture of Jizo extended its protecting power from the top pocket of my pack.

M!ke’s help was very welcome. Any time I get to spend with him outdoors is a great time, and he gave me a big boost when I really needed it. I know it wasn’t easy for him to free up the time to come out to Death Valley, and I greatly appreciate it.

But the gift that sustained me and occupied my mind most was the gift of Lori’s support. From the time many years ago when I first began to talk about this trip, she always voiced her support for my dreams and she never stepped back from that attitude even as it became clear that it was really going to happen and that it was really going to affect her. While walking, I spent some time rummaging around in my past vainly looking for a girlfriend or partner or wife who would have allowed me this trip, much less helped me along the way. Lori, of course, managed it without actively encouraging me to leave …

And then there was her logistical support. It seems that I am a high-maintenance walker, since she received quite a few long lists of things I needed, acquired them, and shipped them off to post offices along the way. She accompanied me on two long expeditions to cache water and food in the desert, and came out to meet me several times. I doubt I could have done this without her help, and I likely would not have done it had she said a discouraging word or displayed a cloudy sky all day.

not the dressThis made it clear that’s she’s really the woman for me, and helped me decide to propose marriage to her, which I did in New Zealand in December 2008. We plan to marry in September 2009. She claims she is not getting married in this dress …

Written by walkingman

March 6th, 2009 at 3:26 am

Posted in meta

One Response to 'Retrospective: Gifts'

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  1. Matt, this is a very old website I’m sure; but this is really amazingly great news on this last post…. Very curious to know more, hope everything went fabulously.

    I am doing VERY WELL (a “we” also), would love to say hi. Please send me an e-mail.


    17 Dec 10 at 1:43 pm

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